Jody Shapiro
Lisa Schwarzbaum
June 20, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

My Winnipeg

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
80 minutes
performer
Darcy Fehr, Ann Savage
director
Guy Maddin
author
Guy Maddin, George Toles
genre
Drama
We gave it an A

My Winnipeg is exactly what its creator says it is: one man’s personal tour of the Manitoban city he has called home all his life. But since the tour guide is the marvelous cinema surrealist and Canadian art-house treasure Guy Maddin (The Saddest Music in the World), both the definition of ”my” and the definition of ”Winnipeg” become profoundly fluid in this exquisite ”docu-fantasia” (Maddin’s term), an entrancing riffle through the olde curiosity shoppe of the filmmaker’s psyche.

Really, the prismatic 80-minute film — mostly in classic Maddin black and white, with a classic Maddin mélenge of silent-film tropes and loving re-creations of decayed found footage — is a visual translation of a voluptuously nostalgic state of Maddinesque Winnipeg-itude. Using selections of personal and civic fact as his foundation, the director also narrates his own edge-of-hilarious declarations in the guise of ”Guy Maddin” (played by Darcy Fehr), a drowsing man on a rattling train attempting to leave home. Meanwhile, the actual Guy Maddin dips into a rich trove of Freudian memory associations.

The result teeters, in perfect form, between deep and delirious with overtones of camp, especially with the participation of 1940s B-movie star Ann Savage in the role of Maddin’s mother. In 1945, Savage played a memorable femme fatale in Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour. Here, in her late 80s, she’s an unforgettable Manitoba mom fatale. A

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